What is going on in New York?

It appears that a small plane has flown into a building in Manhattan.  How does this happen?  For the first 30 minutes to an hour of this incident, it was unclear if a helicopter or a plane flew into the building.  Why don’t we know every aircraft that is flying over major cities?  We’ve passed all of this anti-terrorism legislation, for what?  I’m not saying that this was a terrorist act but what I’m saying is we should’ve closed the loop.  We should have radar systems that identify every airplane that is over every major city.  Of course, that’s just my opinion.

Update: From CNN.com

Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor were killed Wednesday when the 34-year-old ballplayer’s plane crashed into a high-rise apartment building in New York, city and baseball team officials said.

No residents at the Belaire Condominiums at 524 E. 72nd Street near the East River were injured.

Two bodies and Lidle’s passport were found in the street, responders told CNN.(Watch witness accounts of cascading fireballs and a plane split in half — 1:58 Video)

“It looks like the plane just flew into someone’s living room,” witness Sarah Steiner told CNN.

There was a mayday from the pilot involving a problem with fuel, government sources close to the investigation told CNN. (Watch the NTSB comment on investigation — 3:00 Video)

According to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the flight originated from Teterboro Airport in northern New Jersey at 2:29 p.m. Shortly after circling the Statue of Liberty and heading north near the 59th Street Bridge, air traffic control lost contact with pilot.

Witness Henry Neimark, who is also a pilot, said he saw a plane flying at relatively low altitude. “It looked to me in retrospect that this was a pilot desperately trying to get back to the airport and land safely on a runway,” he said. .(Watch the orange flames ravage the apartment — 1:50)

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner confirmed that Lidle was killed aboard his Cirrus Design SR-20 four seater.

“This is a terrible and shocking tragedy that has stunned the entire Yankees organization,” he said in a written statement. “I offer my deep condolences and prayers to his wife, Melanie, and son, Christopher, on their enormous loss.”

The flight instructor has not been identified because family members have not been notified, Bloomberg told reporters. “I think we need to say a little prayer for those we lost,” he said.

Sixteen people, including 11 firefighters, received minor injuries in the accident on Manhattan’s East Side, the mayor said.

More than 160 firefighters from 39 units responded to the four-alarm fire at the building constructed in 1988. It has 183 mainly two- and three-bedroom apartments valued at as much as $1.3 million. It took firefighters about 45 minutes to control the flames that shot from several windows about 10 stories from the top of the building.  (more)

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.

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